Witnesses testify in trial of Khayal TV journalists

February 7th, 2013

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On February 7 and 8 the Khachmaz District Court held hearings on the case of Khayal TV executive director Vugar Gonagov and the channel’s chief editor Zaur Guliyev, who were arrested in connection with the mass riot that took place on March 1, 2012, in Guba city. According to the journalists’ lawyer, Khazar TV correspondent Elmin Karimov and Kanal 13 online TV correspondent Binali Tosoyev testified in the trial. According to Hajili, the witnesses said that following the speech of former Guba mayor Rauf Habibov, mayor’s assistant Tariyel Ibrahimov asked the journalists not to publicize the speech. When they insisted, Ibrahimov explained to them how they had to publish it.

Kanal 13 correspondent Binali Tosoyev said he saw three Khayal TV cameramen filming the event of the city government, adding that he suspects the video was prepared by one of them.

Khazar TV correspondent Elmin Karimov said as their team was late for the event, he missed the mayor’s speech.

The trial will continue on February 20, at 3pm.

Background:

After the online dissemination of a video in which Rauf Habibov (the then chief of Guba City Executive Power) insulted Guba citizens, there was a riot in Guba on March 1, 2012. The citizens set Habibov’s house on fire and there were clashes between people and the police. After the protests president Ilham Aliyev dismissed Rauf Habibov from his post. On March 13, 2012, Khayal TV journalists Vugar Gonagov and Zaur Guliyev and up to 20 other Guba residents were arrested in connection with the protest. Vugar Gonagov and Zaur Guliyev are accused of infringement of public order (Article 233/Criminal Code) and abuse of position (Article 309/Criminal Code).